I believe, a designer should always maintain a weblog, journal, diary, or even a blog to come up with design ideas, things that you have learned, or a set of design rules/guidelines to help other designers to grow.
My name is Abinash Mohanty, and I’m also a design blogger from India. You know what…most of the designers think the other designer is way better when it comes to things like design thinking, project planning, writing a case study, or even taking ownerships.
But the real truth is there is no shortcut to success being a designer.
To be different, one has to study, observe, learn and practice something more than what others do.
So here is my little story…
“I didn’t know how to build my blog 4–5yrs back due to the fact that I was scared of these front-end technologies. However, I got inspired a lot from Jacob Cass, especially after his TEDx talk on “Building a Personal Brand”.
I like Copyblogger, on the other side, for its useful content, smart copywriting, and exceptional products and services without advertising, venture capital or outbound sales team.
But then it’s Copyblogger, it’s neither me, you nor even your company. The point is you just have to get it started if you’ve not started yet!
Why I started writing?
You know what… I didn’t know how to write a single sentence. Yes, you heard me right. Though it was the biggest challenge for me to grab it, I decided to write and told myself, “Let’s do it.” And, I strived for it.
All these days, I keep hearing from my colleagues, who told me…
- I can’t write like you
- I don’t have time
- I have got my family responsibilities
- My career is more important than writing stuff
And you know what are these! These are nothing but bullsh*t excuses. Everybody has got problems, and that varies from one person to another. I faced with a lot of problems in my life including personal & professional. There was no extra time given to me to start writing. In fact, I took out time by sleeping only for 4 hours.
If I can write it, you can. All you need is to hold the passion of writing to make impossible things and make them possible. It would take time for sure because nurturing takes time, and of course.
that’s how I start blogging…
Many designers think blogging is a waste of time, or it’s just to make money. And why should someone need to blog, and about what?
It’s not about just blogging, ask me why!
These are some of the benefits you’ll get while blogging. Here they are…
- You’ll learn how to start and finish a topic; storytelling.
- You’ll learn a lot about search engine optimization and keywords that you can apply in your other live projects.
- You’ll learn about categories, meta tags, etc. while writing and publishing several blog posts.
- Something more challenging — How will you convert your spoken words or an imaginary world of thoughts into simple written texts for others to read and understand your core views.
- You’ll also learn how some of the content management systems (cms) work such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.
- If you know a little bit about front-end coding, you can experiment a lot while modifying your blog themes as per your needs.
- You can configure and test how some of the Ad networks work; Google AdSense.
- You’ll come to know a lot about content strategy, duplicate content, backlinks, follow/no-follow links, indexing, static vs dynamic pages, and much more.
- In the end, you’ll come to learn why some of the reasons your blog site runs so slow and how to optimize them.
Do experiments, go crazy, it’s your baby
I’ve tested how to run asynchronous Google Adsense on my blog just to see how Adsense works on responsive sites (a special thanks to Amit Agarwal, Founder of Digital Inspiration), but there were reasons why I removed Ads from my blog.
The best thing is you’re the Founder/CEO/Employee of your own blog site. And you don’t need permission to make changes. At times, it’s good enough to make crazy stuff on your blog for the sake of testing especially when you have nothing to lose.
It’s your domain, it’s your space.
But just make sure you take backups before making such drastic changes.
Someone always initiated to write
We, as designers, take inspiration from other designers, don’t we! Just imagine if there were no articles on flat user interface design, the core design philosophy behind google’s material design, how semantic web works, or even how to form a design team in a startup.
It’s about putting an extra effort by someone, who is an entrepreneur, design thinker, or even a fresh design graduate who writes and share his/her experience to the world. And that doesn’t mean he/she got all the time just to blog.
And it’s not difficult at all
“It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.”
Don’t think so much about what to come up with or what to write about.
You just have to write the way you speak with someone to start a topic with and it doesn’t even matter if it ends up with a solution or a “to be continued…” session.
Because you, as a designer, love to interact, don’t you? I love myself interacting with new people whether they’re designers, advisors, social media professional or even a full-time blogger.
The more you interact with new people, the more interesting topics you will come to know about, and guess what!
The fact is you’re already blogging
I’m part of so many online design forums & design communities worldwide, and I tend to see there are endless discussions via comments especially on design topics. Those comments that are way too long, let’s say more than 300–400 words long. Believe me, those individual comments (I would rather call them design opinions or views) are too good and helpful.
One of these comments can be converted into your blog post, and why not!
It’s just a matter of putting them into the right format for the world to read. That’s it! Is it hard?
Design groups are not for all
But, there is a problem with such groups especially if they are private. Private means those topics are not indexed by Google. Okay, let’s make it more simple. For example, there is a discussion named “How Visual Design is different from User Interface Design?” on one of the private design groups or forums per se.
And there is an nth number of personal views on that given topic. But, if you’re not part of that design group, you won’t be able to find that topic using google search because that group is not in public.
The point is we’re forced to live inside a group of designers, pushed notifications, or thinkers. We need more opinions or design views from the world of designers.
So what to write on blogs?
Just write and publish each topic per month on your blog for others to come, read and discuss without any restriction. Now, the point is what to write on design? “Should I just write what I think about design? ” you don’t need to. You can write…
- What you faced today at work
- Something that you have learned today
- A new process and its benefits
- Explain design to those who think it’s about computer graphics
- How teamwork can help
- How to improve design recruitment
and, so on.
And, why not explaining the process of the entire problem scenario you faced while launching your first mobile app on the app store! That’s quite interesting for others to know what you faced and how you tackled it.
You’ve always something to share, don’t you?
Let me give another example. If you’re a group of 4 designers and working full-time as freelancers, you can come up with a variety of design topics to publish on your blog.
Those topics can help others to know how you solve design problems, and not by just beautifying it.
You don’t need a reason to start a blog, you just..do it.
Let’s see why some of the great designers started blogging?
So why designers should blog — Let’s look at some of the facts down here.
“I was learning a lot and learning fast about web design. CSS-Tricks was born during that era. There is no one reason for it, it just seemed like a good idea all around. Through CSS-Tricks, I was able to share what I was learning, document things for myself, and learn about blogging and networking and advertising and all that through it’s existence.”
— Chris Coyier, Founder & Author of CSS-Tricks
“Blogging about design helps me learn new skills. This is the main reason why I blog. Every designer who decides to blog has just set themselves on a path of learning.”
— Jad Limcaco, Former editor in chief of Designinformer
“Why do I blog? Because it’s good to share.”
— David Airey
“I first started blogging out of curiosity and I think the reason I still blog is because it opened so many doors in terms of networking, contacts and opportunities (not to mention I learned a lot in the process). I simply cannot see myself not blogging, it’s now part of what I am and what I do, and I love the interaction and discussions with readers. There’s no way I would be where I am right now if I had not started blogging a couple of years back.”
— Jon Phillips
“I use blogging as a platform to market my design services and also as a platform to engage with other designers around the world. It provides a place to discuss and share information on design-related paraphernalia which in turn helps one grow and learn as a designer. In short, I blog because I enjoy it.”
— Jacob Cass
“I’d definitely recommend setting up a blog for any designer. It’s a great way to throw yourself into the design community and allows you to interact and communicate with fellow designers from around the world. The exposure can generate for yourself and your business can also be very useful and can become a primary source of clients and business.”
— Chris Spooner
“I wanted to learn all about the fuss that scared huddled people call Blogging and the Web 2.0. Blogging is an outlet for my thoughts, which most people don’t get to hear and wish I could write down somewhere. I wanted to know how I would fair as a designer playing in the global arena. I seek answers to the question: “Is my design ability of a world-class standard?”
To make a few million dollars. Well, it’s a nice dream eh? Recently I found that its a great way to make friends with like-minded people when everyone around me did not understand what I’m babbling about.”
— Brian Ling, Founder of Design Sojourn
“I started Fashion Blogging simply because of one thing… I love fashion. I’m a college student. Yes, I have a job, but considering its design based that means I only put around 3 hours of work into it a week. When I receive comments or see the view counter slowly ticking up… I get all giddy. It’s because of something I did. Not because I have a company promoting me or gifting me items.”
— Madeline Weinstein, Apparel Design & Development Major
“I’ve always been good at architecture; even occasionally great at it. But I’ve never fit the mould. I was the awkward kid in the back corner of the studio. And, I guess I still am.
So, I started writing about the profession as I’ve seen it, and experienced it over the last 20 years; from the edges, from the back corner. I started underlining the parts of the profession that don’t fit with me. And, I started making fun of it, because if I don’t make fun of it, I’ll just start crying, and that’s not going to be good for anyone.”
— Jody Brown, Architecture
“It is always odd to me when you ask a designer if they have a personal website and they say “no” or “I used to, but it’s old.” So back in 2010, I designed a website for myself. Partially because I didn’t want to be that designer who says they don’t have a site. If you really want to learn new things, you really have to do it yourself.”
— Kevin Rhodes, UX Designer
“I write about the logo, web, print and icon design I do. I especially enjoy sharing the creative process I follow for each project — which appears similar to how you write posts for each of your logo design projects.”
— Mike Rohde
My major intentions for starting a blog were to cater a few things. I want to share my life experience on what I’ve learned till now, why I failed at times, and how to improve as you grow as a designer.
Design schools & books are always there for theory classes, but I’m here to share and help you with the practical experience that’s difficult to find in books. And last but not least, how to improve your mindset as you move ahead in your next design career path; perks, experience, challenges, etc.